Import Controls Over Chemicals Covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

Serial No. 567
Date: March 20, 1998

Table of Contents


1. The purpose of this Notice is to inform importers of the import control requirements to ensure that Canada meets its Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) obligations. This Notice should be read in conjunction with the publication A Guide to Canada's Export Controls which is part of Canada's Export Control List (ECL). The ECL contains the list of items subject to both import and export controls.

2. The Import Control List (ICL) is a Regulation made pursuant to the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) as a means of controlling the import of goods into Canada. CWC chemicals have been added to the Import Control List (ICL) as Item 74 of that List which is cross-referenced to the specific items in the ECL.

3. Export controls are also imposed in relation to the CWC. Please refer to Notice to Exporters No.105 for information on exports of CWC chemicals.

Chemical Weapons Convention

4. The "Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction" (a.k.a. the "Chemical Weapons Convention" or CWC) came into effect on April 29, 1997. With the entry into force (EIF) of the CWC the importation of CWC toxic chemicals and precursors as listed in Item 74 of the Import Control List (ICL) are controlled. As a State which is party to the Convention (State Party), Canada has undertaken never to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, or retain chemical weapons, or to transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone, to use chemical weapons, to engage in military preparations to use chemical weapons, or to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any chemical weapons-related activity. Canada is committed to honouring the terms and obligations in the Convention.

CWC Schedules of Chemicals

5. In order to fulfil its CWC obligations, Canada implemented import (and export) controls on a series of toxic chemicals and precursors, and their mixtures (hereafter called chemicals) listed in three Schedules to the CWC:

Schedule 1: Chemicals known to be chemical warfare agents and some of their key precursors.

Schedule 2: Chemicals and compounds that are key precursors to chemical warfare agents but that have some commercial utility.

Schedule 3: Chemicals that can be used for the production of chemical warfare agents but that are produced in large quantities for commercial use.

6. The above three Schedules of chemicals are found in Items 7001 to 7006 of the ECL Guide and are reproduced in Annex A to this Notice.

7. Mixtures of any of the Scheduled chemicals are also controlled. For the purpose of import controls a chemical mixture is a product made up of two or more chemicals which do not react together in the conditions under which the mixture is normally stored.

Meeting CWC Obligations

8. To meet Canada's CWC obligations, the following import control strategy has been introduced.

  • a) The import of CWC Schedule 1 chemicals (ECL Items 7001 and 7002) are subject to Individual Import Permits (IIPs) from all sources including the USA. This is because Schedule 1 contains the most sensitive of all CWC chemicals and these require special handling. CWC Schedule 1 chemicals may only be imported from states that are parties to the Convention and may not be re-exported.
    The application for an import permit for Schedule 1 chemicals must be received by the Export Controls Division at least 45 days in advance of the intended shipment date.
  • b)The importation of CWC Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals (ECL Items 7003 to 7006) from all sources is allowed under General Import Permit (GIP) No. 108 subject to the following conditions:
    • i) The importer must keep at the importer's place of business or residence the documents in respect of each import made under this Permit for a period of six years after the date of the import;
    • ii) On request, the importer must make the documents referred to in paragraph (i) available to an officer of the Export Controls Division (TIE) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT); and
    • iii) Where the chemicals are required to be reported in a prescribed form under the Customs Act, insert the statement "GIP 108" in the appropriate field of the prescribed form.

Chemical Mixtures/Samples/De Minimis

9. Mixtures containing Schedule 1, 2 or 3 chemicals are controlled under the Import Control List and either an Individual Import Permit (IIP) or a General Import Permit (GIP 108) applies, as follows:

  • a) For mixtures containing any Schedule 1 chemicals (ECL Items 7001 and 7002) an IIP is required for any quantity from all sources.
  • b) For mixtures containing Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 chemicals (ECL Items 7003 to 7006)) GIP 108 applies.

N.B. The Import Control List Item 74 does not distinguish between "samples", full shipments or de minimis quantities. An IIP or a GIP applies, as the case may be.

Import Permit Procedures

10. International Import Certificates (IIC) Before the Government of the exporter issues an export permit or licence for any of the Scheduled chemicals, an IIC may be required. If an IIC is required in support of the issuance of a foreign export permit or licence, importers are requested to contact the Export Controls Division.

11. Issuance of Permits

  • a) The issuance of import permits is administered by the Export Controls Division (TIE) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Division provides assistance to importers and exporters in determining if permits are required.
  • b) The Division also publishes brochures and Notices as well as supplying export and import permit applications, and "information kits". Applicants wishing to import CWC chemicals subject to individual import permits must apply to:

    Export Controls Division (TIE)
    Export and Import Controls Bureau
    Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0G2

    Tel (613)996-2387
    Fax (613)996-9933

Canadian National Authority - CWC

12. The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to designate the Canadian National Authority within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Canadian National Authority, empowered to carry out the provisions of the Convention, exists within a separate agency in DFAIT.

13. It is the responsibility of the Canadian National Authority to assist Canada's citizens, businesses and institutions in the successful implementation of the Convention. For detailed information regarding the CWC other than that related to import or export controls, or on the Canadian National Authority, contact:

The National Coordinator
Canadian National Authority (IDN)
Chemical Weapons Convention
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2

Tel (613)944-0473
Fax (613)944-1835